Top Excursion Destinations in Switzerland: 19 Ideas for a Great Day Trip

Looking for ideas for your next day trip? Voilà, that’s exactly why I’ve compiled my favorite discoveries from recent years and present here 19 great excursion destinations from Aigle to Zermatt – spanning the entire Switzerland, including everything from day trips to weekend getaways.

Knowing that many of you regularly stop by here in search of ideas for excursion destinations and hiking tips, I’ve come up with something special for the sixth anniversary. That’s why I’ve created this map with 19 “handpicked” Swiss excursion destinations, including descriptions. The map aims to give you an idea at a glance of what exciting activities you can undertake in your area on the next free Saturday. I wish you lots of fun exploring the excursion destinations for Switzerland!

Excursion Destination Switzerland – Wine Museum in Aigle

Aigle is not only a charming little town with a historic core but also offers a great excursion destination for rainy days with the wine museum in the venerable castle, surrounded by idyllic vineyards. Despite its location in historic premises, the museum is by no means dusty but impresses with an interactive exhibition about the history of winemaking. Those who want to taste a fine local drop after visiting the museum can stop by at the BadouxThèque in Yvorne. There, the famous “Eidechsliwein” is served.

Excursion Switzerland – Gorge de l’Areuse

In search of ways from the Jura to the Mittelland, rivers have carved deep gorges into the hilly landscape. One of them is the Areuse Gorge between the Val-de-Travers and Lake Neuchâtel. The approximately three-hour hike along the cheerful bubbling Areuse from Noiraigue to Boudry is particularly refreshing on hot summer days. In the depths of the gorge, there is always a pleasantly cool breeze blowing.

Sights Western Switzerland – Château de Chillon

Like a water castle, Chillon Castle protrudes into Lake Geneva and is a popular photo motif for visitors to the Lake Geneva region. It’s worth not only admiring the castle from the outside but also embarking on a discovery tour inside. Every Sunday afternoon, interactive castle tours in German, English, and French take place, included in the admission price.

Excursion Destination Switzerland – Doubs

The Doubs forms the natural border between France and Switzerland over a length of 40 kilometers in the northwestern corner of Switzerland. Parallel to this, the hiking trail “Au fil du Doubs” runs, leading in a total of four stages from Les Brenets to St-Ursanne. A wonderfully relaxing route through partly mangrove-like riverbanks and pristine floodplain landscapes. For those with only one day, I recommend a visit to the Saut du Doubs waterfall near Les Brenets. Trying a “Forelle Blau” (Blue Trout) in one of the restaurants along the Doubs is also a must-do. My restaurant tip: The charming Maison Biaufond in Les Bois.

Day Trip Switzerland – Gastlosen

Some lovingly refer to them as the “Saaneländer Dolomites”, and indeed, the Gastlosen with their striking limestone cliffs resemble the famous peaks of the southern limestone Alps. On the Gastlosen circular hike (about 4 hours, 11 kilometers), you can study the rugged rock walls from all sides and admire the wonderful panorama over the Saaneland, Simmental, and the Bernese Alps.

Excursion Destination Switzerland – Sights in Geneva

Geneva not only exudes international flair but also offers other exciting sights besides its most famous landmark – the Jet d’eau, making it an ideal destination for a city trip in Western Switzerland. A highlight for me is the view over the city center from the north tower of the Saint-Pierre Cathedral. And art enthusiasts should plan a visit to the contemporary art museum in the trendy Bains district.

Excursions Switzerland – Gruyères

    A trip to Gruyères is worthwhile not only because of the picturesque historic town with its castle but also because there’s nowhere else where you can find such good double cream. Also worth seeing is the cheese dairy in the Maison du Gruyère and the interactive chocolate world in the Maison Cailler in the neighboring town of Broc. Visiting both culinary sites can be combined with a hike on the Chemin du Gruyère.

    Excursion Destination Switzerland – La Chaux-de-Fonds

    In my opinion, La Chaux-de-Fonds, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most underrated cities in Switzerland. Here, you can not only visit one of the first buildings designed by Le Corbusier (Maison Blanche) but also learn a lot about the history of timekeeping (among other things, at the Musée International de l’Horlogerie).

    Switzerland Excursions – Lausanne

      Lausanne is a lively student city and impresses with numerous events. For the foodies among you, I recommend studying the event calendar of Lausanne à Table, and architecture fans should not miss the Rolex Learning Center designed by the Japanese architecture firm SANAA on the EPFL campus. Whether it’s the hilly old town, the modern Flon district, or the spacious lakeside promenade in Ouchy – Lausanne manages to meet many demands.

      Day Trip Switzerland – Neuchâtel

      Majestic building facades, witty street art works, colorfully painted fountains, small shops, and winding alleyways; the old town of Neuchâtel has an incredible amount of charm and awakens the spirit of discovery. Those who follow the cobbled streets uphill will sooner or later end up at the city’s landmark – the castle. Also exciting is the Centre Dürrenmatt, designed by Mario Botta, high above the old town center.

      Excursion Ideas Switzerland – Porrentruy

      That the second largest city in the canton of Jura is a worthwhile destination for a day trip may not be immediately obvious. However, a stroll through the old town quickly reveals the city’s special flair; beautiful bourgeois houses with turrets and winding inner courtyards, bubbling fountains, an idyllic botanical garden, and the castle characterize the cityscape. The Circuit Secret offers an additional glimpse behind the beautifully plastered facades. And for those who feel hungry after an extensive wander through the old town alleys, the authentic tavern Auberge du Mouton is the place to go. Here, seasonal dishes from the region are served.

        Excursion Destinations Switzerland – Saignelégier

        Sleeping high up in the treetops and then exploring the Jura plateau on foot, by bike, or on horseback? This is possible, for example, in the treehouse at Camping de Saignelégier. In the immediate vicinity is also the idyllic moor lake Etang de la Gruère.

          Excursion Destination Switzerland – Vallée du Joux

          No, you don’t just happen to come across this high plateau. The location of Vallée du Joux in the westernmost corner of Switzerland is too secluded for that. But precisely because of this, the valley has been able to preserve its originality. Water rats will find ideal conditions for sailing and windsurfing on Lake Joux, thanks to the constant wind. And for those who prefer to be on foot, the 23-kilometer Tour du Lac de Joux offers a route around the lake.

            Day Trip Switzerland – Aareschlucht

            Just outside of Meiringen, the Aare River has carved deep into the rock walls over a length of 1.5 kilometers, snaking through the narrow gorge at a rapid pace downstream. This natural spectacle can be explored on a narrow path affixed to the rock walls – approximately half of the route is wheelchair accessible, making it suitable for wheelchair users. Allow about 40 minutes of walking time for the entire route between the West Entrance and East Entrance of the Aareschlucht.

            Swiss Destination – Arnensee in the Bernese Oberland

            The Arnensee, not far from Gstaad, is a gem in the Bernese Oberland. On hot summer days, the dark green shimmering reservoir lake invites you for a refreshing swim. For those who prefer a leisurely pace, a stroll around the lake takes about an hour, followed by ordering delicious snacks on the sun terrace of the Restaurant Huus am Arnensee. For a more active option, a 2-hour hike from Col du Pillon over Col de Voré to the shores of Arnensee awaits.

            Swiss Experience – Ballenberg Open-Air Museum

            In my opinion, Ballenberg can be visited time and time again because there is always something new to discover. Whether it’s a family outing with children, hosting guests from abroad, or simply a spontaneous Sunday trip for two, the expansive open-air museum with its various walking paths and interactive exhibits caters to many preferences, and the best part: bad weather becomes secondary here.

            Swiss Attraction – Culture in Basel

            No other Swiss city boasts as many museums as Basel; from the Kunstmuseum Basel to the Kunsthalle and the Fondation Beyeler, art enthusiasts find a wide range of exciting exhibitions. In addition, Basel delights with a beautiful old town, a laid-back alternative scene in Kleinbasel, and modern architectural structures – including those designed by locally renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron. It’s best to take a weekend to immerse yourself in Basel’s art and cultural scene.

            Swiss Excursion – Hike to Geltenschuss

            For those unafraid of climbing a few meters in altitude, pure nature awaits high above Lake Lauenen near Gstaad! The ascent from Lake Lauenen to Geltenhütte is just under 4 kilometers and involves a climb of 650 meters – with the magnificent Geltenschuss always in view. Once at the top, you can refuel on the terrace of the SAC hut with a delicious piece of homemade cake and then hike back downhill with a panoramic view over the Saanenland.

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